Tracing settlement history in Franconia through geophysical prospection

In cooperation with the Bavarian State Office for Heritage Management (BLfD) we are conducting ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys to trial the archaeological prospection method on a variety of soils and historic structures buried in the subsurface, with the goal to establish a database on the potential use in the region. Franconia is rich in cultural remains of the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age period, as well as early to late medieval times, of which many have left none or few masonry traces. The aim is to figure out the GPR’s value for particular research questions and then concentrate on sites with the most archaeological prospection potential (Michl & Sonnemann 2017) Wherever the gpr application successfully records underground cultural features, the results help to better understand settlement history in this region, and provide assistance to local heritage management.

These GPR surveys are usually being conducted as part of exercises with local and in cooperation with colleagues from the institute to introduce them to one of the most versatile archaeological prospection method. The intention is to provide an overview on the method, a basic theoretical idea on the function, application of the equipment in the field, and a closer look into processing and visualization steps.

Article in the Regional Newspaper Mainpost: Die Suche nach dem Mittelalterlichen Siechhaus (Gerolzhofen, Franconia)

GPR surveys were conducted at these sites:

  • February 2017, Gerolzhofen, Franconia, medieval infermary
  • May 2017, Schweinfurt, Franconia, medieval church
  • June 2017, Staffelberg, Franconia, keltic oppidum
  • June 2017, Hollfeld, Franconia, medieval furnace
  • September 2017, Königsfeld, Franconia, bronzeage settlement
  • June 2018, Hetzleser Berg, Franken, early medieaval fortress
  • July 2018, Schloss Werneck, Franken, early modern palace
  • August 2018, Bamberg Cathedral (as part of the summer school)

Other Surveys of the IVGA:

  • August 2017, Ramosch (Schweiz), bronzeage cultural terraces
  • February 2018, Kressbronn on Lake Constance, Roman villa
  • August 2018, Augusta Raurica (Switzerland), Roman city